Anna Quidlen wrote an essay for Newsweek in 2000 and later included it in her collection entitled Loud and Clear. In it, she expresses the sweet nostalgia for time when her children were just that, children, and her amazement in the adults they have become. She ponders the issue that plagues us all. Did our kids grow up to be themselves, the people they were always going to be? How much did we really influence them and why are some of the sweetest moments so hard to recall? There are few writers who so perfectly capture parenthood as Anna Quindlen in her gorgeous writing. And we never grow tired of rereading it.
I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
If not for the photographs I might have a hard time believing they ever existed. The pensive infant with the swipe of dark bangs and the black button eyes of a Raggedy Andy doll. The placid baby with the yellow ringlets and the high piping voice. The sturdy toddler with the lower lip that curled into an apostrophe above her chin.
All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber duckie at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
To continue reading, visit Anna Quindlen’s blog here